Waterford Institute of Technology (WIT) is pleased to announce that it has retained its HR Excellence in Research award for its long-term commitment to the career development of the Institute’s researchers. WIT is the first Institute of Technology in Ireland to be successful at the award renewal phase, following a virtual review by three European Commission external assessors.

WIT first received the award in 2014 in recognition of the Institute’s on-going commitment to adopting the principles of The European Charter for Researchers and a Code of Conduct for the Recruitment of Researchers. This commitment is echoed in WIT’s institutional and research strategies.

The two day long assessment consisted of a host of virtual panel reviews with various members of WIT staff including WIT’s HR Strategy 4 Researchers (HRS4R) leadership team, members of WIT’s HRS4R Operational and Monitoring groups, and members of WIT’s research community including early career researchers, mid-career researchers, postdoctoral researchers and principal investigators.

The external assessors paid great tribute to WIT’s dedication to the HRS4R process stating in the official assessment report that: “WIT has proven that HRS4R is taken seriously within the institution and researchers interviewed acknowledge a cultural change provoked by the strategy. WIT is a great institution with a friendly atmosphere, where openness to each other is encouraged, and researchers are free and open to express their thoughts, which are heard. In 6 years, WIT has become a prime example of HRS4R implementation. The new action plan is coherent with the work done so far and is the fruit of a successful assessment in which all stakeholders have participated, the organization aimed and succeeded at a very high standard”.

Eimear Fitzpatrick, HR Business Partner for Research and HRS4R Institutional Project Lead spoke of the importance of this commendation: “This award is an empowering recognition of our commitment to advancing researcher careers and supporting a positive research environment. I look forward to working with researchers and other colleagues across the Institute on the continued implementation of the HRS4R action plan over the coming years”.

The next phase for HRS4R at WIT and the new Technological University will focus its attention on attracting, recruiting and valuing researchers; building upon the synergies established with researchers both internally and externally; exploring careers paths beyond academia; advancing the gender agenda in the research staff context; and celebrating the outstanding contributions researchers bring to the wider Institute community.

Dr Mark White, Vice President for Research, Innovation and Graduate Studies said, “This International recognition reinforces our institutional commitment to supporting the career development of our researchers, who are crucial to the excellence of our research and at the very heart of realising our research ambitions at WIT and in becoming a Technological University. Our team have work hard over the past numbers of years to create a supportive and inclusive research culture, many congratulations to all who have contributed to this success.”

WIT, and the new Technological University, is fully committed to the Excellence in Research process and will continue to adopt proactive initiatives to realise the aims of their current HRS4R Action Plan, ensuring the value and impact of implementing this strategy continues to be predominantly felt by researchers.